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March 29, 2017 [GMT]
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Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami wins trust vote
[Saturday 2017-02-18 18:00]

Edappadi Palaniswami, who was sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on Thursday, won the trust vote in the Assembly where 122 MLAs voted for him, while 11 voted for O Panneerselvam. Majority needed was 68. This will pave way for him to continue on with the position. Palaniswami was administered the oath of office by Governor C Vidyasagar Rao after he submitted a letter on February 14 claiming he was elected as the Leader of the AIADMK Legislature party in a meeting of its MLAs that day.


BJP weighing up ‘political split’ in Rajapaksa camp?
[Saturday 2017-02-18 18:00]

Even as Sri Lanka’s former President Mahinda Rajapaksa angles for a political comeback, New Delhi appears to be weighing up possible political shifts in the island, including a split in the Rajapaksa camp, the Hindu reported. On February 10, BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav, known to be Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s point man on Sri Lanka, met President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo, a week before Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar’s scheduled official visit.


Indian Foreign Secretary Jaishankar to meet Sri Lankan leaders on Monday
[Saturday 2017-02-18 18:00]

Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar will be meeting Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and other Sri Lankan leaders during a brief visit to the island on Monday. Officials described Jaishankar’s visit as a routine one to keep himself abreast of the latest developments in the island nation, besides keeping track of the progress of existing Indian development projects, and to explore possibilities of future engagement in the development and commercial sectors. Jaishankar will also explore possibilities for the Indian private sector investment.


Army Major, two soldiers arrested over assault on Keith Noyahr
[Saturday 2017-02-18 18:00]

An Army Major and two soldiers were arrested today over the abduction and assault on former journalist Keith Noyahr. Noyahr was abducted in May 2008 and was severely assaulted before being set free. The former Associate Editor of The Nation newspaper fled the country with his family following the incident fearing for his life. The police media unit said that the Army Major and two soldiers were arrested by a special investigations team of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).


Army hits out at allegations made by CBK on abuse
[Saturday 2017-02-18 18:00]

The Army has rejected claims made by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga that Tamil women face widespread sexual exploitation by the army. Kumaratunga, the chairman of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation, said women who were widowed during the 37-year conflict were among the victims of abuse by officials who frequently demand sexual favours just to carry out routine paperwork.


Modi confirms participation at UN Vesak Day in Sri Lanka
[Saturday 2017-02-18 18:00]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has confirmed his participation in UN Vesak Day celebrations to be conducted in Sri Lanka in May this year, a minister said on Friday, according to the Xinhua news agency. The UN Vesak Day will be observed in Sri Lanka to mark the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Buddha who founded the Buddhism religion. Sri Lanka is predominately a Buddhist country with more than 70 percent of the population following the region.


Sri Lanka still unsafe for Tamil asylum seekers to return
[Saturday 2017-02-18 11:00]

The Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, speaking at a press conference in Canberra together with the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, urged asylum seekers who had fled the country to return. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe emphasized in his statement, "Come back; all is forgiven; it is quite safe in Sri Lanka; we are just starting the missing persons office.” The Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) would like to categorically state that Sri Lanka has not reached a point where every Tamil asylum seeker can just return without worrying about the consequences; indeed Sri Lanka is far from it.


SL must have foreign judges in war crime probe: HRW
[Friday 2017-02-17 17:00]

Sri Lanka must employ international judges and prosecutors to ensure accountability during trials of those responsible for alleged war crimes against mostly Tamils, Human Rights Watch Australia's director Elaine Pearson has told SBS News on Friday. Ms. Pearson's call, which echoes a recommendation in the 2015 UN Human Rights Council report of the OHCHR investigation of Sri Lanka, comes as Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe visited Australia this week. On Wednesday, he beckoned asylum seekers who fled to Australia to return, assuring they would be "quite safe".


TNA split on UNHRC giving Sri Lanka more time
[Friday 2017-02-17 17:00]

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is split on the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) giving the Government more time to address the accountability issue. TNA member and former Parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran said that the Illangai Thamil Arasu Katchi, a coalition partner of the TNA, is giving indirect support to the proposal to give the Government time. He says TNA leader R. Sampanthan and TNA member M.A. Sumanthiran have spoken in support of giving the Government time under some conditions.


President reveals why he removed Mohan Peiris
[Friday 2017-02-17 17:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena revealed, yesterday, that the first action he took using his executive powers was to remove former chief justice Mohan Peiris, when he came and begged him not to remove him from his post and expressed his willingness to do anything he wanted. The president disclosed how Mohan Peiris visited him at his residence after he assumed duties on January 9, 2015 and promised to take action in his favour and implored him not to remove him from his post of CJ. The president revealed this while addressing a public meeting in Warakapola.


UN and EU pledge to help reconciliation in SL
[Friday 2017-02-17 17:00]

Chief Minister of the Northern Province C. V. Wigneswaran had been informed by the United Nations and the European Union that they had pledged their cooperation to promote reconciliation between all communities in Sri Lanka. Coordinator to the United Nations Una Makoli and Ambassador of the European Union Toolai Margue had indicated this during a meeting with the Chief Minister on their tour of Jaffna on Wednesday (15). The visiting delegates had a lengthy discussion with the Chief Minister on the present political situation of Sri Lanka and also the affairs of the Northern Provincial Council.


Protest in Melbourne against honourary doctorate to Ranil
[Friday 2017-02-17 17:00]

A group of Sri Lankans belonging to the Sinhalese and Tamil Diaspora in Australia yesterday staged a protest in Melbourne calling for the revoking of the honorary doctorate conferred on Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe by an Australian university earlier in the week. Those belonging to the Tamil Diaspora had protested by displaying LTTE flags while the Sinhala Diaspora for their part had carried the country's national flag, according to eye witnesses. The protest was held at the time Mr. Wickremesinghe was visiting Deakin University to deliver a lecture. Eyewitnesses said the Prime Minister had delivered his lecture in spite of the protest and left.


Eight asylum seekers arrested
[Friday 2017-02-17 17:00]

Eight Lankans were arrested in Negombo yesterday while preparing to seek asylum in New Zealand by going in boats, police said. Police said the suspects were arrested at the Kadirana police area in Negombo at 8.30 last night. The suspects aged between 23 and 42 were residents of Negombo, Marawila, Kalmunai and Mullaitivu areas. They are to be produced before the Negombo Magistrate today and the Katana police are conducting investigations.


Raviraj’s widow challenges acquittal in Court of Appeal
[Thursday 2017-02-16 17:00]

Mrs. Sashikala Raviraj the widow of the slain TNA Parliamentarian Nadarajah Raviraj, yesterday filed a revision application in the Court of Appeal, seeking to set a side the Colombo High Court order by Jury which acquitted all the six persons accused of the murder of Raviraj on November 10, 2006, in Colombo. The appellant had said that the accused were arrested and charged under the prevention of Terrorism laws and hence the trial could not be decided by a Jury. The applicant wanted the order of the High Court set aside, and a re-trial ordered without a Jury.


Army Chief ordered to provide documents on two intelligence officers to CID
[Thursday 2017-02-16 17:00]

Homagama Magistrate Udesh Ranatunga yesterday ordered Army Commander Lieutenant General A. W. J. C. de Silva to provide documents with regard to two intelligence officers who were arrested and released on bail over the abduction of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda to the Criminal Investigation Department. Senior Superientendent of Police Shani Abeysekera filing a report before the court cited that the first and second suspects of the case had told the investigators that they have been pressurized not to divulge any information with regard to the incident.


TN appoints Edappadi K Palaniswami as chief minister
[Thursday 2017-02-16 17:00]

Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao on Thursday appointed Edappadi K Palaniswami as chief minister. The Governor invited him to form the ministry at the earliest. The governor requested the chief minister-designate to seek the vote confidence of the assembly within 15 days. His appointment is in acceptance of the "letter of submitted by Palaniswami on Tuesday that he was elected as the leader of the AIADMK+ legislature party at a meeting of the party MLAs held on that day," a Raj Bhavan press note said.


TNA denies hand in controversial HC appointment
[Thursday 2017-02-16 17:00]

The four-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has strongly denied Joint Opposition accusation that it influenced recent appointment of Ramanathan Kannan of the private bar as a High Court judge. Raghu Balachandran, Media Secretary to the TNA leader as well as the leader of the Opposition R. Sampanthan yesterday told The Island that there was absolutely no basis for the accusation.


Kumaratunga: Sri Lanka war widows face sexual exploitation
[Thursday 2017-02-16 17:00]

Tamil women who survived Sri Lanka’s civil war now face widespread sexual exploitation by officials in their own community as well as from the army, the head of an ethnic reconciliation body said Wednesday. Former president Chandrika Kumaratunga, the chairman of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation, said women who were widowed during the 37-year conflict were among the victims of abuse by officials who frequently demand sexual favours just to carry out routine paperwork.


It's Viggie who needs federalism: Chief Minister Isura
[Thursday 2017-02-16 17:00]

No Chief Minister except for Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Vigneswaran who supports racist dreams, needs a federal status, Western Province Chief Minister Isura Devapriya said yesterday. He said Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Vigneswaran was having racist dreams after he went to North from Colombo and is making racist statements.


Government should probe alleged rights violations: Sampanthan
[Wednesday 2017-02-15 18:00]

TNA Leader and Opposition Leader R.Sampanthan has pointed out that if Sri Lanka was given more time to act on the Resolution on alleged war crimes and human rights violations, the UN would have to subject Sri Lanka’s progress to the highest scrutiny.


BUT KEPPAPILAVU AGITATIONS TO CONTINUE
[Wednesday 2017-02-15 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena has, after discussions with Army Commander Lt. Gen. Crishantha de Silva, agreed to release land in Keppapilavu to several displaced persons who have been clamouring for the return of their original homesteads. The Government Agent Mullaitivu, Rupavathy Ketheeswaran, told Ceylon Today that she was informed by the Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs D.M.Swaminathan about the decision taken by President Sirisena following consultations with the relevant Defence officials in Colombo yesterday.


Zeid’s office needs USD 648,000 for work in Sri Lanka
[Wednesday 2017-02-15 18:00]

The office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein says it needs USD 648,000 for its work in Sri Lanka this year. The UN Human Rights Office today launched its most ambitious funding appeal yet, urging States and private donors to bolster the Office’s ability to work and stand up for human rights for all people, everywhere.


CID TO ARREST 10 NAVAL OFFICERS
[Wednesday 2017-02-15 18:00]

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is preparing to take into custody about ten officers of the Sri Lanka Navy who are believed to be having concrete evidence about the abduction and killing of a total of 11 individuals including five Tamil university students in Trincomalee in the years 2008 and 2009, within the next week. However, a senior CID official said senior CID officers had received firm orders from top political authorities to not arrest any of these Navy officials.


Sri Lanka, Australia to continue fight against human smuggling
[Wednesday 2017-02-15 18:00]

Sri Lanka and Australia have agreed to continue the fight against human smuggling, the Prime Minister’s office said today. Several Sri Lankans were arrested while attempting to reach Australia by boat over the past few years, and those who reached Australia have been detained at an offshore detention centre. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who is on a visit to Australia and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull underlined the importance of continuing to counter the illegal people smuggling trade, which puts vulnerable peoples’ lives at risk and enriches criminal networks, the Prime Minister’s office quoted a joint statement as saying.


Come home, Sri Lanka tells asylum seekers
[Wednesday 2017-02-15 18:00]

Sri Lanka's prime minister has urged compatriots who are being held in Australian-run immigration detention centres to come home. Ranil Wickremesinghe claimed the Sri Lankans had broken the law in trying to flee to Australia but insisted they would not face prosecution if they returned. "Come back. All is forgiven," Mr Wickremesinghe said as he stood beside Malcolm Turnbull in Canberra on Wednesday.


Neethan Shan wins Ward 42 Scarborough-Rouge River municipal byelection
[Tuesday 2017-02-14 18:00]

Neethan Shan has won the Scarborough-Rouge River (Ward 42) municipal byelection held to replace former city councillor Raymond Cho. Shan won the ballot by a margin of 4763 votes, representing 45.76 per cent of the total, according to the city's website. Shan is a current Toronto District School Board trustee and will replace Cho, who left his council seat vacant last fall after winning the Scarborough-Rouge River provincial byelection, replacing Liberal MPP Bas Balkissoon.


Britain to sponsor resolution on Sri Lanka at UNHRC
[Tuesday 2017-02-14 18:00]

Britain is to sponsor a new resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) at its upcoming session in Geneva. The decision was communicated to the Council at the organisational meeting for the 34th session of the UNHRC held in Geneva yesterday. The resolution will look to give Sri Lanka time to address the accountability issue on the war.


TNA ready to abandon federalism - Sumanthiran
[Tuesday 2017-02-14 18:00]

The TNA says it is prepared to discuss a realistic power devolution programme instead of engaging in a war of words when formulating a new constitution. Its MP M.A. Sumanthiran has told BBC Sandeshaya that a new constitution should be mandated by the people at a referendum, and that parliament had no right to go for a new constitution without such approval.

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